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Syphilis cases rise by nearly HALF among gay men in England

Nick Duffy June 23, 2015

Cases of syphilis among men who have sex with men have risen by nearly half in the past year, according to figures released by Public Health England.

The body released a report today that shows “the impact of STIs remains greatest in young heterosexuals under the age of 25 years and in men who have sex with men (MSM)”.

It delivered a dire warning about the spread of syphilis and gonorrhoea among gay men in England – with a huge rise in both attributed to risky behaviours.

PHE notes there have been “large increases in STI diagnoses were seen in MSM, including a 46% increase in syphilis and a 32% increase in gonorrhoea.

“High levels of condomless sex probably account for most of this rise, although better detection of gonorrhoea may have contributed.”

Dr Gwenda Hughes, who leads STI surveillance at Public Health England, said: “We are particularly concerned about the large rises in diagnoses among gay men.

“In this group we saw a 46% increase in syphilis and a 32% increase in gonorrhoea. Gonorrhoea in particular is becoming harder to treat as new antibiotic resistant strains emerge.

Dr Hughes continued: “Health promotion and education to increase risk awareness and encourage safer sexual behaviour remain the cornerstones of STI prevention.

“Ensuring easy access to sexual health services and STI screening is a vital component in the control of STIs.

“Effective commissioning is critical to improving STI prevention. Prevention work should continue to focus on people in the groups at highest risk of infection, such as young people and gay men.”

PHE reminded people: “Men who have sex with men (MSM) should have a full HIV and STI screen at least annually or every 3 months if having condomless sex with new or casual partners.”

More: England, Health, Public Health England, Sex, sexually transmitted infections, STI, syphilis

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